background and what ministry you are involved in or serving. No, there was a bit more to the introduction that made me pause and wonder what I was going to say in this group.
You see, Melanee was asking us to be even more personal by answering the question - WHY are you here?
I knew most of the folks around the table, but there were a few new faces I was meeting for the first time. We began to share our backgrounds and reasons why we were drawn to ministry at Haywood Street. Melanee got us started with the introduction exercise, going around the table as we do in most meetings and getting to know each other.
The question of why was intended to draw out a deeper response about our commitment to ministry at Haywood Street. It seems to me that we each have a different faith journey, and on occasion, we share our inner selves with others. The deeper why response seemed to be asking each of us to share a piece of our soul. Put the reveal on the table. I was feeling just a bit uncomfortable at this point. My mind began searching for an authentic response to the question of why.
I wanted to be sure that when it came to my turn, I’d have a sensible response to share. When the why question was getting closer for me to answer, two responses emerged to the question of why. My thought process continued to hold these two responses that had their own character of the obvious why and the deeper why.
You see, I had a nice, easy, understandable response to the obvious why. Being involved at Haywood Street was because I am Pastor Brian’s mom. Of course, I’m going to support his life’s work in ministry. Moms do that sort of thing, dedicate their lives to their family’s well-being. My response seemed like a pretty straightforward, socially acceptable reason for my obvious why. But it was the deeper why that was harder for my mind to answer.
My response felt uncomfortable to share this insight of the deeper why. It seemed that the best word to surface from within was transformation. The deeper why was telling me I was at Haywood Street because there are times when I feel I’ve been touched by seeing a friend stretched out on a pew in deep sleep while the worship service continues. “Accept me as I am” – a thought that surfaces in me from a more introspective place, maybe even beyond my faith, reasoning, and prayer.
It seems the deeper why allows experiences within a community that encourages self-worth, accepts differences in each of us, offers friendship to strangers, and shows a word of encouragement. It calls each of us to reach deep into our soul to understand our own meaning in life.
The Ambassador meeting helped me focus on a deeper response to the question of why I serve. Haywood Street offers the opportunity for each of us to be in relationship with God and with each other. For me, it becomes a transforming experience and helps me understand, and perhaps even accept, God’s love for humanity.